But I have an enormous problem when all that wealth stacks the rules of the game against people.
The Supreme Court has decided that companies can give as much money as they like to support political causes. Those unlimited funds buy access to politicians and access allows influence. I don't have a loge at a stadium to treat my senator to a ball game or host a one-thousand dollar a plate fundraiser. Let's be honest, you can call your elected representatives and voice an opinion and you can even shake their hand at a town hall meeting but that doesn't compare to spending three hours with their undivided attention while watching a game. That access let's me introduce lobbyists and talk about trade agreements that end with unemployed Americans and iPads being put together for $8 apiece in China.
The people camped out on Wall St. and around the country (including Youngstown this weekend) are fed up and pissed that the deck has been stacked against them. Real wages in this country have declined over the last decade because of the recession. People see their jobs outsourced overseas, they see banks bailed out, they see home values decline, they see their government spending an obscene amount of money on wars and they see no jobs.
Then we have a government that is completely dysfunctional. The President, a democrat for God's sake, opens budget ceiling negotiations with the republicans by offering to raise the retirement age for Social Security. The republicans want tax cuts for the "job creators". Unemployment is at 9.1%; exactly when are the job creators going to do some creating? When people hear this rhetoric they know this:
- President Obama can't get anything passed through congress.
- The republicans will not do anything until after the 2012 election.
- All of the help that eventually comes will be directed to the 1% when it comes.
The right thing to do would be for government and business to work together on a solution. There has to be a point where both sides recognize that a declining standard of living is not good for the market place or the citizens. We should have laws that make it cost prohibitive to outsource jobs while creating a friendly atmosphere for business here. There may be taxes that need to be rolled back and regulations that are ridiculous but it needs to be a meaningful discussion that addresses the needs of both sides.
I don't have all the answers but I know one thing: People who have a job to go to in the morning don't spend a lot of time demonstrating in a park.